Sarah Wollaston, a British independent politician, was born 17 February 1962. Wollaston was born in Woking, Surrey, and studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London. She qualified in 1986 and worked as a junior hospital doctor and then as a general practitioner (GP). After more than 20 years in clinical practice, Wollaston ran for political office.
She was the first person to be selected as the parliamentary candidate for a major British political party through a postal open primary; during the campaign, she emphasised that she was not a career politician, and had a real job. As the Conservative Party candidate for Totnes at the 2010 general election she won the seat with an increased majority, increasing it further in 2015.
She rebelled against the Cameron-Clegg government on several key votes—voting in favour of a referendum on British membership of the European Union in 2011, for a cut in the EU budget in 2011, and against military intervention in Syria in 2013.
She has been a vocal proponent of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and has spoken out against political patronage in Westminster. Initially a prominent Eurosceptic, in June 2016, she announced that she was no longer supporting the Vote Leave campaign in the referendum on European Union membership, and would vote to remain in the EU.
Sarah Wollaston Full Biography and Profile
I have lived in South Devon for twenty-five years and was privileged to work on the frontline of the NHS for twenty-four years before entering Parliament in 2010.
I also spent several years as a police forensic examiner for Devon and Cornwall Police – mostly seeing victims of sexual or domestic violence.
For eleven years I worked as a GP on Dartmoor and taught junior doctors and medical students as well as examining for the Royal College of General Practitioners.
I was spurred into politics after hearing David Cameron’s invitation to those with non-political backgrounds to bring their practical experience to Westminster.
I was selected as the Conservative candidate in Totnes after the country’s first ever fully open postal primary – which allowed every voter in the constituency, regardless of their political affiliation, to choose the candidate– and I was first elected as the MP for the Totnes Constituency in 2010.
I wanted to bring a love of South Devon to the green benches and make Government look beyond metropolitan areas to the issues that face our coastal and rural communities. I was delighted to be named Spectator backbencher of the year in 2014 and again by the Political Studies Association in 2015.
In 2015 and in 2017 I was re-elected by MPs from across both sides of the House of Commons to Chair the Health Select Committee. This is a cross-party committee which holds the Government and the myriad of health bodies to account and makes recommendations about policy.
During my time as chair the Health Committee has published a number of influential reports on areas such as Children’s and Adolescents Mental Health Services (CAMHS), End of Life Care, Primary Care, Childhood Obesity and other important public health and mental health issues including preventing suicide.
I have campaigned on social care, health funding, primary care, local health services and on public health.
In 2017 I was elected Chair of the Liaison Committee.
Away from politics, I like to find time for running or keeping up with my husband Adrian on the back of a tandem, anywhere between the Moor and the Sea.
Resignation from the Conservative Party
On 20 February 2019, Wollaston resigned from the Conservative Party, along with two other MPs from her party, joining The Independent Group.
Wollaston lives in South Devon with her husband Adrian James, a psychiatrist, who is a registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They met while studying medicine at Guy’s Hospital. They have two daughters and one son. She is a keen cyclist and took part in the 2014 RideLondon 100-mile bike race with her husband.
- Sarah Wollaston Biography and Profile (Sarah Wollaston)